Thursday, April 25, 2019

Punting to the government for our morals

Why do we always punt to the government to decide whether something is right or not? That is, if we think something is wrong, we want the government to pass a law against it, and if the government doesn't pass a law against it, we assume it's OK? There was a woman in Colorado who was asked why she smoked marijuana during  her pregnancy, and she replied by saying that since the government said that smoking pot was legal, she figured it was OK for her to smoke pot while pregnant. The government need not be our moral compass, or abortion, on homosexuality, on marijuana, or on whether it's OK to tell a woman you love her in order to get her to go to bed with you, even though you don't. Nor should it decide whether it is OK to show up at funerals of AIDS victims with "God hates fags" signs. Of course it's not OK, but we don't want the government stopping it either.  

Adam, Steve, Donald, and Melania

It seems to me that you could take the anti-gay position from a theological point of view (homosexuality is wrong in God's eyes), and still support same-sex marriage in the civil realm. This is what most people do with respect to Donald Trump's marriage. If we are enforcing Christian standards in the area of marriage through government, then you would have to say that someone who is dumping his wife for a younger woman for the second time, and is a well-known serial adulterer, should not be given another marriage license.  Instead, we ask him "are your prior divorces final," and if they are, he gets a license. If you are going to say that Adam and Steve can't get married because of what the Bible says, then you also have to say that Donald and Melania can't get married because of Mt 5:32 and other passages.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Abortion and demographics

People who accept traditional understandings of these monotheistic religions have a greater tendency to oppose abortion that those who are, say, religious skeptics. But the arguments on both sides of the issue rarely mention God or the Bible directly. 

Thursday, April 18, 2019

What does "abortion is murder" mean?

What exactly is packed into the idea of murder is interesting. For example, if you do not believe that the things whose life you are taking is a person, is it still murder? Is manslaughter murder?

 What if you deceive yourself into believing that some being who clearly are persons are not persons---Jews, for example? In cases like that my intuition support the use of the word “murder” because the perpetrators clearly and unmistakably ought to believe in the personhood of their victims, even if they do not. Is abortion murder in that sense? Is the full and complete personhood of the fetus so clearly true that to deny is to, to use Paul's phrase, "suppress the truth in unrighteousness?"

What if you take the life of a person for reasons that you morally justify taking the life of a person, but sub specie aeternitatis, they do not justify the homicide? Are you then a murderer? 

 The word homicide does not carry the negative connotations of the word murder. Should the word murder be used for all homicides that lack moral justification? 

It looks as if the term "murder" in the context of abortion, even if appropriate, needs some parsing. 

What should the punishment be for abortion if it is to be punished?

Pro-lifers believe that abortion is not currently a crime, due to Roe v. Wade, but it should be one. Though, interestingly enough, they often think that abortion providers, not the women who get the abortions, should be punished, and the punishments they recommend are not nearly as severe as the punishments for first degree murder. Does this make sense? If pro-lifers are right about the fetus, what kinds of punishments should there be for the parties involved in an abortion? 

Monday, April 15, 2019

Is there a dissonance between the legal and the moral arguments concerning abortion?

Roe is based on this argument:
1. The right to bodily autonomy, and privacy with respect to medical decisions (absence any superior countervailing right) is known to be established by the Constitution. For example, as decided in the Griswold case from 1962, state governments do not have the right to prohibit artificial birth control.
2. The fetus's right to life prior to viability is not a right we can be sure of. Reasonable opinion differs as to whether the fetus has such a right.
3. A right of which we are certain takes precedence over a right over which there is uncertainty.
4. Therefore, because of the uncertainty with respect to the fetus's right to life, the right of the mother to bodily autonomy and medical privacy takes priority, and a woman has a right to an abortion prior to viability.
What do you think is the bad premise in this argument, (if you think there is one)? What is surprising to me is that the anti-Roe legal arguments seem to concentrate their firepower on premise 1, but people interested in the moral issue of abortion object to premise 2. There seems to be some dissonance between the legal arguments on Roe v. Wade and the moral arguments concerning abortion. Does anyone besides me find this troublesome?

Abortion and the beating heart

I've never understood the significance of the heartbeat in the abortion controversy. The brain, not the heart, is the organ of thought, and the heart is a blood pump. Either life begins at conception, or the development of the cerebral cortex is what is relevant. Is this another example of pro-life political pragmatism?

Saturday, April 06, 2019

Moral relativism and the Holocaust

If you are a relativist, whether the Holocaust was OK is just a matter of human perspective. If the Nazis had won WWII, and history is written by the winners, then if Hitler had won WWII the history books would praise the Holocaust as one of Hitler's great accomplishment. It was how Hitler and those who followed him felt about it right, and if morals are relative to how people feel about it, then the history books would be right. When you say that there is no objective truth in the area of morality, this is what you have to swallow. Or, again, look at hatred for homosexuals (who were also slaughtered in the Holocaust). Lots of people hate homosexuals, and many for reasons that have nothing to do with religion. If morals are relative, that is how people feel, and there is nothing really wrong with that. If you are going to be a moral relativist, you've got to be a consistent one, but most people aren't consistent in their relativism, by any stretch of the imagination.

Christianity and anti-Semitism

There are, unfortunately forms of anti-Semitism that Christians have engaged in. Hitler's version of anti-Semitism, however, is really incompatible with Christianity, because it said that what is wrong with Jews is not their religious choices (failure to accept their own Messiah), but rather what is wrong with them is their race. That is the race that produced Jesus, Paul, and all 12 apostles. In other words, one of that racial group is God Incarnate, according to Christianity. Why any Christian would support Hitler is beyond me (though, I am sorry to say, many did).

Thursday, April 04, 2019

Is this homophobia?

The position of the Catholic Church on this is interesting. They don't think, per se, that there is anything sinful about having a gay orientation. They just say that those who have such an orientation are called to a celibate life.